by Rotem Gal
In today’s uncertain business landscape, companies should be nimble and able to adapt to sudden market shifts and other unforeseen challenges. COVID-19 has created new hurdles to overcome, but they aren’t without their lessons. A key takeaway from the pandemic is how eCommerce has become a more lucrative channel when compared to previous years. In 2020, worldwide eCommerce sales reached a high of $4.28 trillion, with a projected growth of up to $5.4 trillion. It’s also predicted that eCommerce purchases will comprise 21.8% of global retail sales by 2024.
The pandemic has cemented eCommerce’s position as an ongoing trend in the years to come. As more consumers turn to online shopping, challenges are appearing as they realize how disconnected a brand’s online and brick-and-mortar shopping experiences can be. Digital transformation is required because the rethinking of an organization’s approach to digital mediums will help in shaping a future that’s both profitable and sustainable.
Consistency is key when it comes to customer experience—regardless of how or where they shop. Because companies use both online and offline marketing channels, an omnichannel strategy is ideal. Omnichannel is a two-prong approach that involves leveraging both new technologies and legacy systems to improve the overall customer experience and make this experience consistent across all touchpoints. Companies that employ an omnichannel approach gain a customer retention average of 89%, which is particularly high, especially when compared with the 33% customer retention rates of companies who don’t play the omnichannel game.
A paradigm shift is also needed for many organizations because there’s a tendency for most marketers to think that they are in control when it comes to deciding what customers want and need. The new digital age has made consumers savvy enough to decide for themselves, and the secret to success lies in making them share their intentions with you.
Data as a metric for success
Previous purchases and browsing histories are a given when it comes to identifying which products to highlight or recommend to customers. More importantly, customer data should also be unified and used in measuring the success of campaigns and other marketing efforts. The current situation has changed customer expectations and behavior in unprecedented ways, and businesses have adapted their strategies to accommodate these changes. Having the necessary tools to process and analyze data efficiently will help in the digital transformation of any business and help maximize outcomes both offline and online. Below are a few ways you can use data to transform your business as a means to thrive in this digital age.
- Identify your target audience.
Valuable data includes any type of information that helps you better understand your target audience. Collecting the right kind of data ensures that you craft the right messaging for your customers and provide it at the right time and place. There are several ways to collect market research data, including competitor research, market assessment surveys, and user engagement analytics.
- Determine your best marketing channels.
After determining your target market, data will also help you find the appropriate ways to communicate and engage your audience. By identifying customer sentiment and demand, data also shows you which channels work for which type of customer. Knowing what works and what doesn’t helps you better position your product or service and identifies the current position of your audience in the marketing funnel.
- Personalize your campaigns.
The difference between a marketing campaign and spamming is rooted in whether a brand knows its customers or not. Marketing personalization is vital because consumers have a higher chance of responding to your message when it’s relevant to them or if they feel that it’s crafted specifically for them. The value of data in determining customer demand can’t be denied in this regard. Gathering and analyzing the right data will allow businesses to personalize their marketing efforts and build strong relationships with their customers.
- Build stronger connections with prospects.
Real-time data allows you to modify marketing efforts on the fly so you can adapt to changing market trends and customer behavior. Based on customer responses to a product or marketing campaign, you can improve overall customer engagement while also increasing conversion rates. The ever-growing reach of social media has somewhat eased the challenge of engaging with customers because it provides an avenue where you can communicate with them directly. It’s also a platform where customers can provide product reviews easily and recommend your product to their friends and contacts.
- Reach your audience everywhere.
With mobile devices evolving into mini-computers in consumers’ pockets, it has become an invaluable tool for both shoppers and businesses. Even in-store shoppers often use their smartphones to compare prices and check product reviews before making a purchase. The key to reaching them is providing a unified customer experience both online and in-store, which isn’t always an easy feat. Using web services or live APIs can help stores provide a seamless experience for their customers. Almost all brands or stores now have their own mobile application for the convenience of customers, and having a mobile app of your own will also help you provide a positive brand experience for your customers.
Design customer experiences with data
Providing a seamless customer experience requires the integration of these experiences across all marketing channels. Data will help businesses meet the expectations of digital-first but not digital-only consumers by delivering relevant experiences and recommendations. What businesses need to understand is that customer experience doesn’t only mean bridging gaps—it’s an exercise in customer understanding, product design, and the ability to do both in the midst of a digital transformation.